a grown-up wish list

i can’t help it – i love things. pretty things. delicious things.

when i dream of the life i wish to one day have, i dream of the things that will fill my home – the books that will put their weight on my shelves; the tea set i will bring out when friends are over; the little ornaments i will line up on the mantle, each one reminding me of something or someone different.

inspired by the visually delicious gift guides over at design*sponge and the lovely list of books at lottie+doof, here is my own little collection of beautiful things i can’t stop thinking about.

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mosaic wall mirror at urban outfitters

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“blue duchesse” china by vera wang for wedgwood

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“jasmin de virginie” corsage bracelet on etsy

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wingtip heels at urban outfitters

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cartolina iphone app

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60s roly poly cocktail glasses on etsy

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kate spade “on the dot” bangle

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“sailing along together” print on etsy


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shots of the season

NEW YORK –

during the holidays, walking among the crowds in manhattan doesn’t feel as much like madness as it does christmas camaraderie. the shop windows are dressed up in their finest, and we all walk around with our eyes up and twinkling.

 

one day i’ll lace up some skates and carve lines in the ice here, but that night it was enough to stop by for just a few minutes and look down at the skaters on the rink – before cutting across times square to the theater to watch a broadway musical: my first.

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BOSTON –

twinkle lights wrapped the trees all up newbury street, making this lane of little brick storefronts all the more charming as we walked on through in the twilight. we had gone into a very fancy store and i had bought a headband lined with pretty green feathers, which the clerk carefully wrapped in tissue and placed into a little bag. i swung that bag the whole walk back like a little kid with a new favorite thing.


CANADA –

on the day my plane landed, flakes were coming down in the softest whispers. by the time we arrived on the street where my friend lived, everything had gotten a powdered sugar dusting of snow.


there is nothing like sunlight on freshly fallen snow.


SANTA MONICA –

on somewhat of a whim, i met some friends at montana avenue on a friday night, when they were having their now-annual holiday walk.

 

in between free samples of cake and tiny cups of prosecco, we stopped in some of the most beautifully curated home decor stores i’ve ever seen.

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LOS ANGELES –

and a bit closer to home, we are in the middle of a week of rain. but it is so much sweeter when downtown paints the showers in christmas lights.

the view is most charming from the doorway of pete’s café, where all our closest friends had gathered for a cozy dinner and a couple orders of caramel bread pudding, shared across the table.


the weather here is mild – it always is, relative to everywhere i’ve been – but it’s still cold enough for the kind of cooking that steams up the kitchen windows: mushrooms and garlic in the oven, coq au vin burbling on the stove, my favorite mashed potatoes, and a cranberry-caramel tart i carried over to a friend’s house – i’ve been busy this week.


and this morning i still had room for these nutmeg doughnut muffins.

there won’t be snow here this christmas, but there is always a way to arrange one’s own powdered sugar dusting.

 

spicy tomato soup


i could have this soup year-round really, but it’s especially good for these balmy fall days we’ve been having around here.

i realize it’s the beginning of december now, and in most parts of the country the air isn’t so much “balmy” as it is biting, and it’d be silly to call this season fall. but down the lane where i live, the leaves on the trees have finally flared up in their most vivid reds and yellows and the leaves on the ground are crunchy as chips, all clustered in the gutters.


and except for the blustery currents of rain coming down yesterday, the wind these days is dry but soft – carrying with it a lingering warmth from our strong-armed california summers, i’d like to think.

so the scene is set for a no-fuss meal like this one: your traditional tomato soup, but tricked out with blue cheese and sriracha sauce. ladle some out on a brisk and golden afternoon, and you’ve got yourself a bowl of lunch that will keep your hands warm and leave some heat on your tongue. with a piece of crispy, butter-browned bread to sop up the smooth-as-velvet soup, nothing matches this weather better.


Spicy Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup
from Michael Symon’s Live to Cook by Michael Symon, via the Amateur Gourmet
(adapted slightly for the ingredients I had on hand)
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
salt
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 28-oz. can whole plum tomatoes, with their juice
1 ½ cups chicken stock
¾ cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
½ cup creamy blue cheese {I used one from Trader Joe’s called Stagnola Blu}

  1. Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat for 2 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sweat for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, their juice and the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the cream and sriracha sauce and simmer for 45 minutes.
  2. Pour the soup into a blender, add the blue cheese, and blend until smooth, working in batches if needed.
  3. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean pot. (How smooth the soup’s final texture is will depend on how much of the solids you push through at this point.) Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary (I added another ½ teaspoon of salt here), and reheat to serve. The soup will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for a few days.